Disability determinations rely on accurate assessments of opportunities for individuals with medically related functional impairments to perform substantial work in the national economy. A common assumption is that, for a given occupation, functional requirements are approximately fixed. In practice, however, work requirements may vary across employers and even establishments for the same narrowly defined occupation
depending on characteristics of the establishment or local labor market. Understanding within-occupation variation in functional requirements can strengthen the disability determination process by enabling more accurate characterizations of the range of jobs that individuals with disabilities can perform. There is little evidence, however, on the extent to which such variation in functional requirements exists. Our proposed work will address this knowledge gap using microdata from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) combined with novel survey data on medical conditions and functional limitations, fielded in the RAND American Life Panel in 2019.
We will produce a research manuscript addressing the following specific aims:
(1) Characterize the variation in functional requirements within occupations;